UNICEF Commends the Government of Zambia on Enacting the Children’s Act
LUSAKA, 12 August 2022 – UNICEF commends the Government of the Republic of Zambia on adopting the Children’s Code Act (12 of 2022). This is a significant step forward in advancing the rights of all children (under the age of 18) in Zambia.
“We congratulate President Hakainde Hichilema and his Government and the National Assembly of Zambia on this momentous occasion of the adoption of the Children’s Code Act. This is a great milestone in advancing child rights and wellbeing of all children in Zambia, especially those that are most vulnerable and marginalized,” said Penelope Campbell, UNICEF Zambia Country Representative.
“The adoption of the Children’s Code Act represents the Zambian Government’s commitment to the rights and welfare of the child. The Act will protect children in all settings and will create an environment where all children can grow and thrive with full potential. UNICEF is ready to support the implementation of the law and calls upon the development community to join hands in supporting its enforcement,” stated the UNICEF Country Representative while applauding the Government’s commitment.
The President signed the Children’s Act after it was adopted in the Zambian National Parliament. This legislation is aligned with international child rights standards and will enable the protection of vulnerable children, especially those without adequate parental care, children living in the street, refugee children and children on the move. The law will also protect children who have experienced violence, abuse and neglect and will ensure their access to justice. The Children’s Act will provide the legal basis for the implementation of regulated community responses to juvenile offending that is focused on child reintegration and preventing the repetition of offences.
The Children’s Act comes at a critical time – when communities across the country are working hard to prevent violations of child rights such as early marriage. This legislation bans child marriage (under 18) and practices that undermine a child’s development. It introduces child safeguarding procedures for all services and organizations working with children. This will make sure that all children will have avenues in place to report cases of violence, be it physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
UNICEF supported the Government to ensure participation and engagement of practitioners from the judiciary, prosecution, and social welfare as well as civil society in formulating the law.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.